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What happens when an island Premier tries to get a small pittance of what he's owed from his own land?

Why, sue him!

Under NAFTA's "arbitration process" (remember when that phrase used to mean, "you're screwed"?).

 Sep 27, 2007 10:48 AM

CORNER BROOK, N.L. – U.S. oil giants ExxonMobil and Murphy Oil are accusing Ottawa of breaching the North American Free Trade Agreement by allowing Newfoundland to require them to spend millions of dollars on research in the province.

The two companies plan to sue the federal government, alleging it violated a previous NAFTA agreement when a provincial-federal agency adopted a new guideline on research and development in November 2004.

In notices of intent filed last month, ExxonMobil and Murphy Oil say the new regulation would cost them $40 million and $10 million, respectively, regardless of the commercial need for such investment or of the resources in place to sustain it.

The companies call the guideline "restrictive" as it specifies a fixed amount of money to be invested, and cite the Newfoundland and Labrador government's push for more revenues from the offshore oil industry.

ExxonMobil, Murphy to sue Canada over oil rule | Rule on offshore spending violates NAFTA, oil firms say

Now, what Newfoundland has done(1) is quite laughable actually, compared to what it deserves and what is the "going rate" at this time; 75% of oil companies are nationally owned (2).  I actually rolled by eyes at the small pittance that Premier Williams strutted out to the media, that 5% oil stake and some other concessions.  I mean really, when the real powers over the world are The New Seven Sisters, Saudi Aramco, Russia’s Gazprom, CNPC of China, NIOC of Iran, Venezuela’s PDVSA, Brazil’s Petrobras and Petronas of Malaysia, (not to be confused with the old Seven Sisters, aka Exxon and ilk), it's outrageous that a foreign company should have the right to dictate to a province what it can do with it's own land; and make no mistake, this is Crown-owned land, owned by the Queen of Canada.  

Canada had a 100% nationalized energy company once upon a time called Petro-Canada (or see this history page, that had national preference in the 1980s, as well as a National Energy Program, that of course is now defunct (Canada imports more oil than it exports in the Atlantic provinces and Quebec, has no east-west cross-country power or energy system, and oil exports are locked at ~60% due to NAFTA's energy clause which Mexico thoughtfully rejected, see Easterners could freeze in the dark and The SPP's prospects are iffy with leaders short on political capital).  It's just another privatized company now, and the oil industry in Canada is mostly foreign-owned.  This is in stark comparison to Mexico's PEMEX and every other country in the world.

I think Danny Williams probably wishes Petro-Canada was here right now, because he wouldn't have to play ball with these scum-suckers.  

That's what I call liability.  NAFTA is a liability to all three countries' ability to govern.

Of course all that ended when Canada signed the US-Canada Free Trade Agreement and NAFTA.  It might have even been the 'leverage' that Canada used to get a free trade agreement; "sign this...pretty please...and we'll never exercise our sovereignty again".

I don't really know what to say other than NAFTA has done irreparable harm to all three countries.  In Mexico, it was the sudden inlet of subsidized imported farm goods that drove Mexican farmers out of business and brought in Cargill, displacing hundreds.  In the meantime, wages have stagnated for the middle class in Canada and the United States.(3) There's some Mexican billionares though, which I guess counts as success!  Of course, this "success" must now be replicated...throughout Peru, Colombia, etc.

OTHER TOPICS: Dems just passed another free trade bill in committee, knowing they were breaking their promises while doing so. (from David Sirota) Dem Leadership Rolls "Over the Dead Bodies" Of Its Rank-and-File

"A trade pact between the United States and Peru won bipartisan support in a crucial Congressional committee Tuesday...The vote Tuesday was a victory for the Bush administration and Representative Charles B. Rangel, the New York Democrat who is chairman of the Ways and Means panel. Mr. Rangel argued, against the opposition of many Democrats...[Ways and Means Committee Chair Charles Rangel (D-NY)] noted that he may not be able to win over most of his party, adding, 'Our membership on this committee means that we will have to do things that at times will not be as popular as we would like them to be.'


Democrats regained control of Congress last year after a campaign in which many candidates promised to block future trade deals...While many rank-and-file Democrats fear that trade deals erode American jobs, Democratic leaders have developed close ties with Wall Street and with many high technology and industrial companies...


Critics of the deal say that it represents an extension of Nafta...Lori Wallach, director of Global Trade Watch division of Public Citizen, assailed the Peru vote as bad policy and politics. 'This is especially incomprehensible,' she said, 'after many of the freshman Democrats, who tipped the balance of power in Congress, were elected by focusing on ending more-of-the-same trade policies.'"

Notice that this Rangel admits he is passing the deal over the objections (ie. "over the dead bodies") of his own party. Notice too that he added that ramming the deal through the committee over the objections of rank-and-file populist Democrats represents "a very special day in my legislative career."


(1) Danny Williams and Oil Royalties

Ownership stake key in new N.L. energy plan: Williams

(2) Chavez's Not-So-Radical Oil Move
   Venezuela's and Canada's Very Different Approaches to Oil

(3) Paul Krugman's Conscience of a Liberal
 The Exploding Canadian Income Gap

(replace "TILMA" for "NAFTA" as you please, same thing, but interprovincially, and it's even more scary and dangerous, as well as completely unnecessary and whose very existence based on 100% flawed data)

Originally posted to junta0201 on Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 04:22 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Big oil exploit huge profits from American (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    junta0201, Mike Taylor

    Consumers. They will embrace NAFTA with open arms when it's beneficial for their books and their CEOs astronomically huge bonuses, but when it comes to giving back to society they shy away. Typical neo-con Dick(head) Cheney policy. Shame on them.

  •  2 oil companies SAY they PLAN to sue? That's it? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    junta0201, Mike Taylor

    Stop the Canadian presses, folks, NAFTA is about to swallow Newfoundland.

    As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

    by ticket punch on Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 05:12:05 AM PDT

  •  Recommended (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The proponents of NAFTA never talked, or talk, about chapter 11.  They try to hide it because they know the anti-democratic and anti-national sovereignty implications will not go down with the public.

    Thanks again Bill Clinton for betraying your party's principles and siding with the multi-national corporations and wall street against the average worker.

    If Hillary Clinton wins, the Democratic Party loses.

    by Paleo on Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 06:06:52 AM PDT

    •  NAFTA (0+ / 0-)

      changes everything.  Water, pollutants, public services....  And of course, it was bi-partisan:  Bush-Mulroney, Clinton-Chretien.  Republican/Democrat, Progressive Conservative/Liberal.  Chretien said he would not sign NAFTA on the campaign, and he did.

      It's like a bunch of ticking time bombs, and the politicians don't even bring it up anymore because they think they've benefitted the nation.  Or, they think that it's at least benefitted their friends and donors, and it looks like it benefitted the nation due to China's cheap labor disguising inflation.

      Because as I pointed out, wages are like the living dead right now.

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